From education to employment

Two million courses started through the National Tutoring Programme

Will Quince, Children's Minister

New figures published today (19 July), show the growing impact of the Government’s revolutionary National Tutoring Programme, with almost 1.8 million courses started so far this year across an estimated 80% of schools.

With almost 600,000 course starts in the last two months alone, the boost in tutoring means the programme has now reached just under 2.1 million courses in total, transforming the way young people receive targeted support in school.

The Government set a target of two million courses for this academic year. Final data will be published by the end of the year, with numbers expected to continue growing over the summer.

The 1.8 million courses, started between 1 September 2021 and 26 June 2022, demonstrate the huge value of the programme and the resilience of schools, teachers and young people, in the context of disruption to pupil and staff attendance over the winter, amidst the Omicron wave.

Developed as part of the Government’s ambitious Covid recovery plan, the National Tutoring Programme is supporting pupils across England to get back on track following the disruption caused by the pandemic. It forms part of the Schools White Paper pledge to offer high-quality support to any child that falls behind in English and maths.

Today’s figures also reveal that an estimated 80% of schools are now participating in the programme, highlighting a 14pp increase in take-up since May 2022. The data also highlight the continued success of school-led tutoring, which now accounts for over three quarters of all courses started.

The Department has today announced the appointment of three new delivery partners: Tribal Group, Education Development Trust, and Cognition Education, reflecting the programme’s new operating model for next year which will see funding go directly to schools, making it easier than ever before for pupils to access tutoring sessions. This will replace the previous model, in which Randstad acted as the sole contractor of the programme.

School’s Minister, Will Quince, said:

“The National Tutoring Programme is helping to level up opportunities for millions of children across England and these latest figures are further evidence of the programme revolutionising the support available to the children who need it most.

“I am determined to provide every pupil with the opportunity to reach their full potential and look forward to working with Tribal Group, Education Development Trust, and Cognition Education to continue growing this vital programme and ensure even more children can benefit from the high-quality tutoring we know makes such a difference.”

In total, 1,433,793 courses have been started through the school-led tutoring route this academic year, with a further 200,835 through Tuition Partners, and 147,318 through Academic Mentors.

As schools this week receive confirmation of their funding for the next academic year, with allocations totalling £349 million, the three new organisations that will support the delivery of high-quality tutoring over the next two years have been announced:

  • Tribal Group will support schools by quality assuring Tuition Partners. This will ensure schools can have confidence in the quality of tutoring provided by Tuition Partners that are involved in the programme.
  • Cognition Education will recruit well-qualified people to work as academic mentors and deploy them to schools that are most in need of additional tutoring resource.
  • Education Development Trust will provide high-quality training for new tutors, which will ensure that all tutors employed in schools have the right skills and knowledge for the role.

Kathryn Harris-Gurner, Head of Operations, Tribal Group, said:

“We are delighted to be playing a part in the next phase of the National Tutoring Programme. The Government’s investment in tutoring has the potential to be transformational for all schools, but in particular those serving pupils from the poorest backgrounds.

“Building on what has already been learned in the first two years of the NTP, we will be working closely with school leaders, the tutoring sector and the DfE to put in place a new system for selecting and monitoring Tuition Partners, which ensures high standards across the country.”

Tina Lucas, CEO, Cognition Learning Group, said:

“We are extremely pleased to have been awarded the contract to support the National Tutoring Programme. As a company dedicated to transforming the lives of children and young people through learning, we are proud to be selected to support schools with access to high quality Academic Mentors as they seek to address the challenges faced by many our most disadvantaged pupils as a result of pandemic disruptions to their education.”

Yalinie Vigneswaran, Programme Director, Education Development Trust, said:

“The national catch-up programme is a vital initiative and Education Development Trust is delighted to be carrying on our involvement in ensuring the damage wrought by the pandemic does not undermine school pupils’ life chances.

“The National Tutoring Programme is making a real difference to outcomes for young people across the country. We are excited to continue bringing our decades of experience and expertise to this work.”

Today’s statistics also highlight the continued success of the programme in areas like the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and West Midlands, meaning that the programme is reaching some of the most disadvantaged children in the country.

Data published earlier this year indicates that primary pupils have already recovered around two thirds of progress lost due to the pandemic in reading, and around half of progress lost in maths.

A £5 billion investment into education recovery will continue to help children and young people to recover from the impact of the pandemic, ensuring that no matter where a child lives or what their ability might be, each will be supported to thrive. It will continue to play an important role in supporting the government’s Levelling Up mission for education, for 90% of primary school children to achieve the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths by 2030.

Schools are encouraged to continue using the programme as part of any summer provision they are running.

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“The government has been engaged in a campaign to pressurise schools into using the National Tutoring Programme which has involved besieging them with telephone calls and the threat of a league table of schools’ take-up of the programme which is due to be published in the autumn.

“We are therefore not surprised to see an increase in uptake since May.

“This has largely been a face-saving exercise by the government following the chaos which has dogged the programme since it was launched caused by over-complexity and problems in delivering the tuition partners element of the scheme.

“The government has now launched a simplified version of the programme in which all funding goes directly to schools – something it should have done in the first place – and they then choose the tutoring route which best suits their needs.

“But it is important to understand that this is only partially subsidised and that the programme represents a considerable cost to schools to deliver from budgets that are under extreme pressure.

“Next academic year the subsidy will be only 60% meaning that schools have to find the remaining 40% from other budgets which already have many calls upon them.

“There is good evidence that tutoring in small groups can be of benefit but it should be an option that is available rather than an exercise in backdoor compulsion.

“School leaders are best placed to make the judgement call on what support best meets the needs of their students – not politicians in Westminster.”

Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said:

“The announcement of the new delivery partners for the National Tutoring Programme is an opportunity to reaffirm the huge potential it has to make a long-term contribution to ending the entrenched education inequality in England. 

“There are very few teaching and learning approaches that are as proven, or as scalable, as tutoring. This is not based in ideology, but in evidence; a robust body of research that tells us that high-quality tutoring can help pupils make up to five months’ additional progress over a single year.

“Schools need to be confident that the tutoring they’re accessing will be high-quality, act as a complement to classroom teaching, and provide support for the pupils that need it the most. In its new phase, it’s critical that the programme retains and strengthens its moral mission of serving the most disadvantaged pupils.”

Professor Lee Elliot Major, from the University of Exeter, said:

“A reboot of the national tutoring programme has been long overdue so this change is welcome. The big test now is to establish high quality tutoring as one of the standard approaches in the school day deployed to help pupils who have fallen behind their peers.”

“What pupils and teachers desperately need as we recover from the pandemic is high quality tutoring particularly targeted at improving the foundations of literacy and numeracy – that’s why we are developing a university-led tutoring programme, providing trained undergraduate tutors to help schools who will know best what their pupils need. This should be a central strand of any national tutoring efforts.”

More information and Key Stats

Today’s statistics on the take-up of the National Tutoring Programme are available here.

Course starts by pupils

  • 2,092,663
    • since start of NTP. An increase of 584,614 since 8th May 2022.

Course starts by pupils (2021)

  • 1,781,946
    • since start of 2021 to 2022 academic year. An increase of 584,614 since 8th May 2022.

Percentage of schools participating since start of academic year

  • 80.4%
    • 2021 to 2022 academic year. An increase of 13.6% since 8th May 2022.

Related Articles